New Year, New Me!

New Year New MeWe have not only started a new semester at Monmouth University, but we have also entered a new year: 2018. Students smile and greet each other with refreshed appearances: new clothes and straight posture at their desks. Going forward, what goals will make our lives better? What goals will define our lives for the year? I decided that I wanted to improve my life by eliminating stress and increasing my rate of achievement while in school.

As a student, I struggle with two main things: who I am and what I will become. Every student tackles these issues for different reasons and with different remedies. I am searching for my niche as a creative writer by learning about different genres and writing techniques. What kind of writer am I, though? What kind of writer will I become?

I tell myself that my goal is to make class a profitable experience. However, large goals require smaller ones in order for them to be achieved. My small goal, for this year, is to eliminate stress factors from my life in order to unlock new possibilities.

I have lost or damaged some precious things, as a result of stress over these circumstances. Like eating a box of Ring Dings with a gluten allergy -- which I have -- I indulged in some unhealthy coping mechanisms. Looking back in time as a junior, I notice these tragedies extend back to my freshman year.

As a first-year, I obliterated a stick of deodorant over my frustration with a long textbook reading. As a sophomore, I threw my backpack against the wall following a heated discussion with my professor over grades. Since my first semester as a junior, the plastic screen of my Godzilla poster still bears a scar -- from my dorm keys.

While school is a taxing responsibility for me, these countermeasures were ineffective at making me feel better long-term. I decided at the end of the fall semester of 2017 that I needed to focus on eliminating stress by focusing more on academic achievements rather than the toll it would take to accomplish them.

The more procrastination on assignments I experienced, the more stress I endured. I also had a habit of worrying about what my grade would be for an assignment before I even finished it.

At the start of the 2018 semester, I started ignoring the notifications on my phone more often. I counted how many times I went on a website to determine how much I had to avoid its Medusa-like effect on my judgment. I never let the fatigue I felt while working on an assignment cause me to think, “I can finish it tomorrow.”

Defining the future sounds easy: reflect on the old year in order to build on the New Year. Did you gain extra weight? Just go run a mile per day. Did you perform poorly on your previous finals? Study more, next time. Defining is easy, but performing is not. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed my academic rewards, so I paid more attention to my responsibilities rather than allow them to consume me and my time.

I plan to earn all A’s again without having to break as much of a sweat due to self-made obstacles. Writing for the Opinion Section of The Outlook and becoming published also seems like the best step on my academic journey of discovering the kind of writer I want to be.

Under my own pressures, I managed to make the Dean’s List last semester. I plan to challenge myself further -- and in a more positive way -- by training myself to be committed to a tight schedule for homework and other activities without distractions.

The New Year is all about opportunity, bettering ourselves and choosing a resolution that will benefit us in the long run. We all have different areas we need to improve on, things we need to eliminate or goals we need to set and stick to; all of which vary in how long it will take depending on the individual.

Monmouth offers various ways to help with resolutions, whether it be through clubs, fitness classes, or weekly events that are welcoming to everyone! It is never too late to get involved in anything at Monmouth and make steps to becoming a better you.

PHOTO TAKEN by Caroline Mattise